This colored pencil instruction will teach you some basic colored pencil techniques that will have you creating fabulous colored pencil art in no time!
These 5 colored pencil drawing techniques form the basis for any colored pencil work that you will do. You can use each of these techniques alone or in various combinations to create some really interesting effects!
hatching – Hatching involves drawing a series of parallel lines. These lines all go in the same direction. The lines can be close together, far apart, or any variation in between. The pencil is lifted from the paper after each line and then placed down again to create a new line.
These colored pencil art bird drawings depict a variety of birds in colorful scenarios, with the aim to expand our usual view of the creatures we meet in nature.
back and forth stroke – The back and forth stroke is probably the most common of all the colored pencil techniques. This is probably how you drew with crayons as a kid! Basically, you just put your pencil on the paper and draw in a continuous back and forth motion, without lifting your pencil off of the paper. This is a good way to fill different areas of your drawing with a lot of solid color.
Richard Klekociuk’s beautiful colored pencil art depicts stunning Tasmanian landscapes. Come see his colored pencil drawings that often blend realism with Christian symbolism and abstract imagery!
scumbling – Scumbling is another technique you probably used as a kid without even knowing that it had a name! Scumbling involves making continuous circular marks on your paper, without lifting your pencil. This is another good way to fill in different areas with lots of color.
cross-hatching – Cross-hatching involves drawing a series of parallel lines (hatching) and then drawing another series of parallel lines going in another direction on top of the first set of lines. This is a great way to create shading in a drawing. You can create some interesting textures through cross-hatching.
Discover how to sharpen a colored pencil to a nice, fine point! Learn how to prevent your Prismacolor colored pencils from breaking.
Once you master these colored pencil techniques, you can use these colored pencil techniques to layer colors over top of one another to create a rich, luminous depth.
These colored pencil techniques cover the 5 main ways that you make marks with colored pencils: stippling, hatching, cross-hatching, back and forth stroke, and scumbling. You can see examples of these 5 techniques on the left!
Although I prefer Prismas, you can use any brand of colored pencil when following this colored pencil instruction. The techniques are totally the same!
stippling – Stippling involves placing lots of tiny dots on your paper. The dots can be close together, far apart, or anywhere in between! Practice stippling by drawing dots that are close together and also by drawing dots that have more distance between them. Also, notice the difference between dots made when the pencil is sharp vs. when the pencil point is dull. Stippling is a great way to add some interesting texture to a drawing.
For this colored pencil instruction, I used Prismacolor Colored Pencils (this links to Blick Art Materials, and if you make a purchase I get a small commission that helps support this site). These are my favorite brand of colored pencils because they are waxy and full of pigment. This allows them to create color that is so rich and luscious that your drawings actually resemble paintings! All of the drawings that you see on the right and left hand side of this page were created using Prismacolors.
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These basic colored pencil techniques form the foundation for any type of colored pencil art that you would like to create.